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Mouth Matters: More Than Just a Pretty Smile

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Oral hygiene and overall health: There may be more riding on this relationship than you realize. Studies indicate a big connection between your microbiomes and your well-being.

A microbiome is the population of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa that hang out together in various parts of our bodies. The biggest group is in your gut, but second in size and importance is the one in your mouth.

How you take care of your mouth matters to your microbes. Frequency of brushing and flossing, what you eat, and whether you smoke affect their balance. Too few good ones and the bad ones can overgrow, causing disfunction and infection. Cavities and gingivitis are only part of the story. Links between poor oral hygiene and pneumonia, heart infection (endocarditis), and kidney, pancreatic, and blood cancers are eye-opening.

Quit It

Your microbes hate tobacco in every form. Tobacco users are at greater risk for pretty much every health problem, especially gum disease and oral cancer. Quit and get better.

Red flags

Some auto-immune disorders and systemic conditions have indicators like tooth lesions and salivary gland issues. Your dentist may ask you questions while aiming sharp instruments at your teeth, but she’s trained to spot these signs.

Going both ways

Diabetes gets downright codependent with oral hygiene. People with diabetes are more prone to infections like periodontitis. The body’s response to fighting infection often causes blood sugar to rise, making it harder to control.

Breathe out

It’s true: bad breath is a bummer. Take care of your mouth for better looking teeth and gums and better breath. It’s a big boost for your self-esteem and confidence.

You know what to do:

  • Quit tobacco
  • Brush at least twice a day
  • Floss
  • See your dentist every six months and tell them if you have any changes
  • Use mouthwash and try a tongue scraper

Be proactive with oral hygiene and up your odds for great health. And share your beautiful smile with us on social media with the hashtag #HancockHealthChallenge!

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